The Advent of our Lord – do not reject this great gift
Many Christian denominations (although not all) observe the Season of Advent during the four Sundays before Christmas. Advent means arrival, appearance or coming.
During Advent the Christian focus is on the coming of Christ. Specifically, how Christ came to us in the past, how Christ comes to us today, and, how Christ will come again in the future.
Christ’s birth over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem was a fulfillment of God’s promise to send humanity a Savior. As foretold in the Old Testament: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and shall bear a son and you shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7: 13,14. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given …” Isaiah 9:6. The days shall come saith the Lord, that I will raise up on to David a Righteous Branch … a King …This is the name whereby He shall be called, The Lord is our Righteousness.” Jeremiah 23: 5,6.
We also remember Christ’s triumphant entry to Jerusalem some 33 years after his birth just before the beginning of Passover. Jesus came as the Passover Lamb. The Lamb to be sacrificed to atone for our sins. Jesus the spotless Lamb of God who took on our sins, took on our deserved punishment, who was beaten, crucified, died and was buried on our behalf to redeem us of our sins. As John the Baptist said of Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” John 1:36.
We also remember how Jesus comes to us today. Jesus comes to us today through his word contained in the Bible. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1.
Jesus also comes to us today in the Lord’s Supper. Jesus said: “Take eat this is my body” Matthew 26:26. “Drink of it all of you for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28.
Jesus also comes to us today through our Baptism. As St. Paul states: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirt of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11.
Finally, we remember that Jesus will come again on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16. For all believers this will be a time of great joy, for unbelievers however it will be a time of tremendous fear.
Jesus came into the world because he loves you. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. God desires everyone to be saved. 1 Timothy 2:4. “For you O Lord are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” Psalm 86:5. Joy to the world the Lord has come! I pray you do not reject this great gift.
Alex H. Knowles is pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Angola and the vacancy pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fredonia.